a single pair of large sliding doors. [32] These sensors can measure relative positions to an accuracy of a few nanometres, the most accurate ever used in a telescope. Gear-obsessed editors choose every product we review. Super Telescope. The first images arrived at the mega-site in northern Chile from 12 of the 66 radio telescopes. At 9,993 feet, high on Cerro Armazones in the Atacama Desert of Chile, the foundation for the Extremely Large Telescope is being laid. Computational fluid dynamic simulations and wind tunnel work are being carried out to study the airflow in and around the dome, as well as the effectiveness of the dome and windscreen in protecting the telescope. Making the secondary mirror is a major challenge as it is highly convex, and aspheric. Scientists are building a super telescope In Chile to find alien planets It's being called "the world's biggest eye on the sky. The baseline concept for the 40m-class ELT dome is a nearly hemispherical dome, rotating atop a concrete pier, with curved laterally-opening doors. The next-largest telescopes currently in use are the Keck Telescopes, the Gran Telescopio Canarias and the Southern African Large Telescope, which each use small hexagonal mirrors fitted together to make a composite mirror slightly over 10 m (33 ft) across. In January 2017,[30] ESO awarded the contract for the fabrication of the 4608 edge sensors to the FAMES consortium, which is composed of Fogale[31] and Micro-Epsilon. Super Telescope Hopes to Unlock Secrets of Space ... With much fanfare, construction of the world's most powerful telescope kicked off on Friday in northern Chile… Did Scientists Just Find a Way to Reverse Aging? The dome is to provide needed protection to the telescope in inclement weather and during the day. [7] By December 2014, ESO had secured over 90% of the total funding and authorized construction of the telescope to start, which will cost around one billion euros for the first construction phase. ESO's facilities include 15 operational telescopes that it owns or shares, scattered across three mountaintop sites in the Atacama Desert of Chile. This page was last edited on 21 November 2020, at 17:57. The first of 798 hexagonal mirror segments that will make up the ELT, each 4.2 meters (14 feet) wide, were cast early this year. Construction has begun on a 'super telescope' that could help astronomers find alien life. [1] The observatory aims to gather 100 million times more light than the human eye, 13 times more light than the largest optical telescopes existing in 2014, and be able to correct for atmospheric distortion. ELT compared with one of the four existing VLT Unit Telescopes at Cerro Paranal, Chile. Thus, the ELT will answer fundamental questions regarding planet formation and evolution. High up in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile is a complex of some of the largest telescopes in the world at the cutting edge of optical technology. The ELT will also search for possible variations in the fundamental physical constants with time. The baseline design of the windscreen minimises the volume required to house it. [1] It reduced projected costs from 1.275 billion to 1.055 billion euros and should allow the telescope to be finished sooner. [26] The first three mirrors are curved (non-spherical), and form a three mirror anastigmat design for excellent image quality over the 10 arcminute field of view (one third of the width of the full Moon). The site for the ELT is only a 30-minute drive from ESO's current flagship telescope, the Very Large Telescope (which is actually four telescopes working together), perched on Cerro Paranal. Following first light, this telescope of extremely large size will allow astronomers to probe the earliest ages of the universe, study ancient galaxies, measure exoplanet atmospheres, and answer dozens of lingering questions in astronomy. This video shows an artist's impression of the Extremely Large Telescope, the ELT. The mirror will be cast from the same low-expansion ceramic Zerodur as the existing Very Large Telescope mirrors in Chile. Popular Mechanics participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites. Part of Cerro Armazones was blasted. The super telescope – called the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) – will be the largest optical telescope in the world; five times bigger and more powerful than what is available today, say scientists from the European Southern Observatory (ESO). Extremely Large Telescope's First Mirrors Are Cast, The World's Largest Telescope Is Almost Under Way, $120 million Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) Makes Its Debut, Behold This Massive New Map of the Milky Way, The Very Large Telescope Is Getting an Upgrade, The World's Largest Telescope Breaks Ground Today. [53] The telescope will attempt to image Earthlike exoplanets, which may be possible. In terms of astronomical performance the dome is required to be able to track about the 1-degree zenithal avoidance locus as well as preset to a new target within 5 minutes. However, in 2011 a proposal was put forward to reduce its size by 13% to 978 m2, for a 39.3 m (130 ft) diameter primary mirror and a 4.2 m (14 ft) diameter secondary mirror. The fourth and fifth mirrors also send the light sideways to one of the Nasmyth focal stations at either side of the telescope structure, allowing multiple large instruments to be simultaneously mounted. [1], Furthermore, the ELT's suite of instruments will allow astronomers to probe the earliest stages of the formation of planetary systems and to detect water and organic molecules in protoplanetary discs around stars in the making.